Director: Marc Daniels
Writer: Stephen Kandel
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Roger C. Carmel, Richard Tatro, Alyce Andrece, Rhae Andrece, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Kay Elliot, Mike Howden, and Michael Zaslow
Composer: Samuel Matlovsky
Air Date: 11/3/1967
Production #: 60341
After Lieutenant Norman (Richard Tatro) hijacks the Enterprise, Captain Kirk and the bridge crew are transported to an uncharted planet. Once there, Kirk encounters his old rival Harcourt Fenton Mudd, who now owns a slew of female androids. Before Mudd can steal the Enterprise, the androids—apparently controlled by a central computerized intelligence—decide to commandeer the ship for their own purposes.
Lost in Space meets Star Trek in this goofy sequel to “Mudd’s Women.” While William Shatner’s chemistry with Roger C. Carmel should be commended, science fiction fans of a serious inclination would be wise to pass on this offering.
Whereas Harry Mudd’s debut episode failed to provide its guest star with a vehicle to fully explore his comedic abilities, “I, Mudd” compensates for this problem by matching Carmel’s acting style with a suitably campy tone. The silly atmosphere works exceptionally well during Kirk’s verbal sparring matches with the silver-tongued Mudd, which allowed Shatner to unleash his hammy side without detracting from any serious material.
Though “I, Mudd” maintains a sturdy balance between solid science fiction and delightful camp for most of its narrative, the final act becomes absurd enough to make a mockery of otherwise dignified characters. Many Star Trek fans will appreciate the teamwork displayed by Kirk and his crew as they attempt to outsmart Mudd’s army of androids; however, themes of cooperation could have been worked into Stephen Kandel’s story without embarrassing the entire cast in the process.
In addition to a juvenile execution, the concluding scenes showcase yet another instance in which Kirk successfully confuses a computer/mechanism/android to death. This concept is an interesting one, but delivered a more resonating impact when used in “The Return of the Archons.”
The first of several lighthearted Star Trek episodes, “I, Mudd” puts Carmel’s talents to better use than did its predecessor, “Mudd’s Women.” Fans of over-the-top situations will therefore enjoy the antics of Harry Mudd and company, whereas serious science fiction enthusiasts will likely derive little value from this bizarre installment, especially since Kirk’s solution to the android problem had been previously employed in a more somber fashion.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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